Bakkavor caves in to pay demands after staff ‘anger’

Food manufacturer Bakkavor has faced a backlash after trying to plug staff shortages with a £250 bonus for recruits.

The company, which makes ready meals, salads and pizzas, had warned of “unprecedented challenges in labour availability” in a September trading update.

Its starter rate, for new workers after their first 16 weeks, provoked “anger” from other employees at five factories in Newark and Lincolnshire.

Neelam Verma, regional officer of Unite, said the payment “failed to value the existing workforce”.

READ MORE: Tesco salad supplier on course for profit targets

After threatening to ballot for a strike, the union negotiated wage increases of between one and eight per cent at four of the sites.

“This is a highly important deal for Unite’s members at Bakkavor who, by standing together, have secured permanent pay rises for all workers,” general secretary Sharon Graham said.

Staff were said to already have higher wages at the Spalding factory, where the starter rate was scrapped and all employees handed £100 instead.

Bakkavor, which also operates in the US and China, made a pre-tax profit of £34.6 million in the six months to June 2021.

The manufacturer has been approached for comment.

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